Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Best Poets?

Dear Editor and Readers,

I write in response to a letter in your May issue penned by Mr. Simon Halburian.

Mr. H. sez… Aspiring writers need to read some of the best poets so they can judge whether their verse compositions, which should never be called poetry, rise to that level.

Ouch! (As a writer I find that sentence painful.)

I must first ask who is supposed to be doing the judging here, aspiring writers or the best poets?

Indeed, who are those best poets? Will Shakespeare, William Blake, Wallace Stevens? Good, better, and best, but sadly, dead, making them quite unable to judge anyone. Sandra Cisneros, Sharon Olds, Adreinne Rich. Youngish, older, and old, but still kicking, and all have been teachers in my lifetime, going through the grind of grading both lackluster and enthusiastic student’s submissions. Are they some of the best? Certainly, and as living writers their work is both easy to find and to read.

I believe Mr. Halburian was trying to say is that one who writes verse, poetry, or prose should know who and what came before, as it takes decades to become muscled within the craft. Am I right, Mr. H?

Here’s my observation: Poetry is very much alive and well. We humans have need of it in our lives and I know it will continue to be written and read as long as humans walk upright.

Thank you CC for printing poems between your pages.

T.M.M. Larkin

Monterey California